Summary: How the early church used a time of peace to prepare for even greater effectiveness.
The church was using the time of peace to continue to grow spiritually. They were building up themselves and they were actively involved in building up each other. The church far to often seems to be actively involved in tearing each other down and in the process tearing the church apart. Gossip and character assassination are two of the negative ways, but we can be guilty even if we have not done these things if we are not doing anything to help ourselves and others grow.
3. THE CHURCH WAS WALKING IN FEAR OF THE LORD
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord.”
Scripture often uses the image of walking to describe the course of one’s life. Each person is walking to his eternal destination. The word “walk” as it is used here reveals but two ways, “walking in the fear of the Lord, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit,” or walking in rebellion and sin. The Lord clearly established in Matt 7:13-14 that there are only two spiritual paths where men may walk when he said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many that go in by it. (14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.”
We must choose to walk in the “fear of the Lord.” Unfortunately, our mental image of the word fear is not very good! We see fear as a bad thing! The Greek word here is (phobos) the word that we get phobia’s from. But this fear is not a trembling, withdrawal from God. On the contrary, it means that a person stands in reverence and awe of Him, desiring to approach and to know Him.
The book of Proverbs has much to tell us about the importance of “fearing the Lord.”
The “fear of the Lord” is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7)
The “fear of the Lord” will cause one to hate evil
The “fear of the Lord” will prolong life (Prov. 10:27)
The “fear of the Lord” provides strong confidence (Prov. 14:26-27)
The “fear of the Lord” prompts one to depart from evil.
( Prov. 16:6)
The “fear of the Lord” leads to a satisfying life (Prov. 19:23)
The “fear of the Lord” is the way to riches, honor and
life (Prov. 22:4)
Very simply, to live in the “fear of the Lord” is to live before Him in trust, reverence, awe, worship, and obedience. “The fear of the Lord” means that the church dreaded to do anything that might displease or offend the Lord. Fearing God means that I know that God cares what I do.
4. THE CHURCH WAS COMFORTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and (walking) in the comfort of the Holy Spirit,”
The word in Greek translated “comfort” has two primary meanings. The first, is “comfort” like a mother gives to an injured child. “Comforter” is the name that Jesus gives us for the Holy Spirit when he says in John 14, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— (17) the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you…. (26) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (NKJV) The Holy is always present to give the believe comfort.